Just a Couple of Barn Cats

Today I closed the closet door in my office.

For two ailing cats for over two years
the door has remained open
for easy access to the litter boxes.

For them, because of legs that didn’t work so well
For me, to monitor what was coming out and going on.

Two pans.
They’ve always had two pans
Since we got them
The lady who gave them to us said,
“I don’t know why, but they’ve always needed two. Both use either, but if there ain’t two… well…
Wouldn’t think they’d be so picky. They’re just a couple of barn cats.”

Even when the first one died nearly a year ago,
still, there had to be two.

And the closet door was open
plus a new box of litter, because with weak kidneys, you go through a lot
plus a covered one for the scoopings.

All that is gone now

and that corner
door closed
boxes gone
It is so empty
looking large in this small room.

Those small cats
mostly sleeping
only occasionally wanting
a lap
a treat
a meal

small things

but the house
and I

feel so empty now.

the echoes
I catch myself looking
for where they are hidden

they are hidden

Just a couple of barn cats
gone back to the barn.

8/2021 Steve Schatz